Battle over soul of Isheri-Oke land shifts to Supreme Court
Legal battle over a parcel of land situate, lying and being at Isheri-Oke near Olowora in Kosofe local council of Lagos has shifted to Supreme Court following an appeal filed by the defendants.
The land described and verged Blue on Plan N0. Bo/LA/ DISP.02A/2011 made by Surveyor B.O. Oyeleye and dated September 7, 2011, has been a subject of litigation between Prince Michael Adesegun Bakare, suing for himself and other members of Ikumoworo family, Solfun Nigeria limited and Princess Josephine Momoh as claimants and Mr. O. Asafa, Mr. A. Thomas, Alhaji Adelani Ganiyu, Commissioner of Lands Lagos State, The attorney General of Lagos state as defendants.
Others, who also joined in the suit as counter claimants and 6th – 9th defendants are Prince Ayodeji Dabiri, Chief Disu Alimi, Prince Olajide Salami, and Prince Mushafau Adeboye, who was suing for themselves and on behalf of Olofin Chieftaincy family of Isheri.
In the main action, the claimants in Suit N0.ID/1352/2001 had sought a declaration that they are entitled to the statutory right of occupancy over the land, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants jointly and severally by themselves or their agents and servants or independent contractors and person claiming through on the land on dispute from committing any further acts of trespass on the land as well as the sum of N1.6 million as general and special damages suffered as a result of the acts of trespass of the defendants and their agents.
But the counter claimants and 6th-9th defendants in their 3rd amended defence sought a declaration that they are entitled to the statutory right of occupancy over all that piece of land properly described on Plans N0. ADAKS 06/LA2005 drawn by Adetunji Adeleke registered surveyor and Verged Blue.
They also sought a declaration that the allocation of the land in dispute purportedly acquired by the Lagos State Government to private individuals for private purposed and without payment of compensation to 6th -9th defendants is illegal, unlawful, invalid, null and void.
They further sought a declaration that the release by the Lagos State Government of the land including the land in dispute purportedly acquired from the original owners, that is Olofin Chieftaincy Family of Isheri back to the said original owners ( The 6ht- 9th defendants) vide Lagos Sate of Nigeria Official Gazette N0.31 Volume 31 at page 436 dated July 1998completedy divested the employers of the 1st -4th defendants, the Lagos State Government of any right if any, that may otherwise have had or enjoyed over the purportedly acquired land including the land in dispute.
On their part, the 1st -4th defendants urged the court to determine whether the claimants are entitled to the relief sought considering the provisions of section 34 of the Land Use Act Cap L5, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and whether the action is statute-barred among other issues.
Similarly, the 5th defendant wanted the court to determine whether the claimants’ contention that they are the owners of the land purportedly acquired by the Lagos State Government based on traditional history can succeed.
However, after consideration of the arguments adduced by parties, Justice SBA Candide-Johnson, in a judgment delivered on May 3, 2016, resolved the issues in the favour of the claimants.
The appellate court in Lagos on November 14, 2019, in appeal N0: CA/L/ 1065/16 presided by Justices Tijani Abubakar, Jamilu Yammama Tukur and Ebiowei Tobi also affirmed the trial court verdict.
Dissatisfied the defendants went to the supreme court.
But an attempt by the claimants to enforce the judgment last week caused apprehension in the area.
The possession exercise led by policemen and court bailiffs was in execution of a Warrant of Possession issued by Hon Justice Candide-Johnson of the Lagos High Court in Suit No ID/1352/01, after a recent Judgment by the Court of Appeal.
Residents and businesses who were unaware of the matter got into the melee with the pasting of ‘possession was taken today 17/2/2020 by Court Order’ written on some houses and banks on Somide Odunjirin Avenue in the area.
The apprehension affected the operations of the Ikeja Saddle Club.
However, further execution of the Judgment was suspended following a letter by the counsel indicating the service of the appeal to parties.
In the appeal marked SC.386/2019, the appellants want an order staying execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal Lagos of November 14, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
The appellants, namely Prince Ayodeji Dabiri , Chief Disu Alimi, Prince Olajide Salami and Prince Mushafau Adeboye, suing for themselves and on behalf of Olofin Chieftaincy Family of Isheri also want an order restraining the respondents, their servants or any other person appointed by them from executing the judgment pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
They argued that if the execution of the judgment of the trial court is no stayed, the respondents will proceed to execute the judgment, thereby dissipate the res of the appeal, thereby extinguishing the applicants’ right to be heard and foist a fiat accompli on the court as the apex court will no longer have a live issue to decide.
The appellants claimed that there was patent evidence of a miscarriage of justice before the court of appeal that should have warranted setting aside the decision of the trial court.
They have also through their counsel, one Olamilekan Adebayo written to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police on the pending appeal at the supreme court.
In the letter dated February 17, 2020, the counsel sought the police action in preventing any act or conduct that may lead to a breach of peace in the community.
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